The ad I am choosing to rip to shreds this time is by a jewellery brand (repeat offenders when it comes to regressive portrayals of women). This abomination, which was (unfortunately) rather popular at the time of its release, is by Tanishq. Watch it below and let a treasure chest full of disappointment come crashing down on you.
So, as you’ll see, there’s a family; parents and a daughter, travelling in a car. Out of nowhere, the father says: “Varun. Good boy, good family. Why don’t you meet him?” The woman clearly says she isn’t interested, but the father goes on: “Settled in San Jose…America!”(As though living in the west automatically turns any man into the perfect husband. Colonial hangover, much?) The woman repeats that she is not interested in marriage, when the mother, sitting in the back seat, asks her daughter to stop the car and enters what is presumably a Tanishq store.
Both father and daughter follow the mother into the store, where an employee quickly puts an ornate necklace around the daughter’s neck, and, weirdly enough, a dupatta over her head (erm, whaat?!). I had no idea that was a part of a Tanishq salesperson’s job description. “Toh, shaadi kab hai?” probes the saleswoman. The mother quickly replies, “Oh, wedding jewellery! We are not interested. Chalo beta, utaar do.” The daughter looks rather disappointed, and once they are back in their car, she asks her father, “Kya naam bataya?”
Then suddenly, according to the mother, “25 saal ho gaye”, but her husband hasn’t understood a thing about women. You know, that we can be tricked into making significant life decisions through the lure of gold jewellery!
A voice-over then says: “Jewellery that makes you want to marry…Tanishq.”
So, yeah, my immediate thought is that I’d love to get my hands on this stuff. No, not the jewellery! I mean the stuff the ad makers were smoking when they came up with this piece of regressive horse shit (no offence to horses btw, heavens know they have been in enough trouble of late). Because, that can be the only possible explanation for why they thought stripping a woman off her agency over her own life was a good idea.
Unless, they REALLY think that it’s okay to promote the notion that a grown up woman, who seemed absolutely sure about not wanting to get married (especially to a stranger who lives half way across the world), can be made to change her mind with a mere visit to a random Tanishq store. Well, I guess they do! That’s probably also why most brands believe that the best way to celebrate International Women’s Day is to offer women discounts on jewellery. Jewellery that most of us wouldn’t be able to afford anyway, but I digress.
Also, maybe I’m wrong, but I thought we could wear whatever jewellery we wanted to, whenever we damn well pleased. It seems though that we’re only allowed to buy jewellery if we’re getting married and once that’s done, we’re only supposed to buy stuff for our husband and children, as Amazon reminded us a while ago (notice once again how single women aren’t really considered women at all).
I’m sure your collection is all pretty and golden Tanishq, but your mindset still seems to belong to the Iron Age! Maybe someday in the VERY distant future, I’ll be able to afford something you sell, but if you keep making ads like this, I’ll go to a competitor instead(there, you just lost a prospective customer. There’s a motivator to mend your ways, if you still needed one). But even when I do, I think I’ll just keep the jewellery and stay single, thank you very much! Because, there is no way in freaking hell that a necklace will “make me want to marry” a person I barely even know!
Disclaimer: This piece was co-authored by Bruce Vain of The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman, and is part of the Conditioning is for Hair, Not Minds series in collaboration with the same.